According to a report by ECO, China's stock of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Portugal is the fifth largest, representing 6.8 percent (€10.6 billion) of the total (€154.9 billion). A new statistic from Banco de Portugal that identifies the ultimate investor, rather than the location of the subsidiary, shows a greater weight of Chinese investors, compared to the previous statistic.


The Chinese economy is the one that most uses subsidiaries in Luxembourg and Hong Kong to carry out investments in Portugal, which reduced its weight in previous statistics that looked at the origin of the investment and not at the ultimate beneficiary. France and the USA also benefit from this change: “New statistics show that China, the United States of America and France invest in Portugal through other countries”, says the central bank.

With the change in perspective, China is now in the top 5, only behind Spain (€23.6 billion), the biggest investor, Portugal (€23.5 billion) — refers to Portuguese companies which have subsidiaries outside the country – France (€17.1 billion) and the United Kingdom (€13.3 billion). The data is from 2021.

After China come the Netherlands (€8.7 billion), Germany (€7.6 billion), the United States (€7.1 billion), Brazil (€5 billion) and Luxembourg (€4.3 billion). Only then do countries like Angola and Switzerland emerge.

“Direct investment is understood as the investment that an entity resident in a given economy makes with the objective of controlling or influencing the management of a company resident in another economy”, explains the central bank, stating that “the new statistics of direct investment positions by final investor allow identifying the origin of the investment”.

New perspective

Countries like Luxembourg and the Netherlands, which were in second and third place as the biggest investors in Portugal, are no longer in the top 5 in this new perspective, since they were used by other countries to carry out the investment.

Data from Banco de Portugal also show that China's weight is greater in the electricity, water and gas sector.

In the case of manufacturing, the United Kingdom dominates, followed by Spain and Germany. In the case of construction, Spain dominates, with Brazil close by. In services (which includes financial services such as banking and insurance), Portugal has the highest FDI, followed by Spain and France.